Why does your organization exist? What’s your reason for getting up in the morning? What exactly are you trying to accomplish? 

Finding clarity around these questions and communicating the answers to your team are the foundations of a healthy organization — but how do you create the kind of environment where this is possible? What do those conversations look like?

In his book “The Advantage'', Patrick Lencioni talks about the four disciplines companies should adopt to create the kind of organizational health that enables continued financial success. 

  • Build a Cohesive Leadership Team
  • Create Clarity
  • Overcommunicate Clarity
  • Reinforce Clarity

His recommendations include some basic vulnerability exercises, but Clean Communication frameworks provide a roadmap for more effective, deeper conversation.

Build a Cohesive Leadership Team With Clean Communication

According to Lencioni, a fully aligned leadership team is the foundation of a healthy organization. They do five things well:

  • Trust each other
  • Have constructive conflicts
  • Commit to each other
  • Embrace accountability
  • Focus on results

An important distinction: Trust in this case is vulnerability-based, not project-based. It refers to a comfort with being open and honest, not confidence in someone’s ability to meet a deadline.

To build that trust, Lencioni recommends team members share “their story” with each other and use a tool like Myers Briggs to familiarize themselves with others' natural tendencies. He also suggests avoiding the fundamental attribution error, or our tendency as humans to attribute each other’s behavior to personal shortcomings instead of situational factors.

The Action/Impact Framework

Blaming mistakes on someone’s personality is one of the quickest ways to turn them against you, so we use the Action/Impact Framework to stick to the facts and acknowledge the possibility that we may be in the wrong. By using “I” statements instead of “you” statements, neither party gets put on the defensive, and tensions can be resolved as a team.

Navigate Conflict in a Productive Way Framework

Bonus: “I” statements are the perfect way to make sure that conflict within your organization is constructive — once you get comfortable sharing information from your own perspective, you can use the How To Navigate Conflict in A Productive Way Framework to come to an agreement. 

Keys to Productive Conflict

  • Share The Data - What actually happened? Leave out judgments.
  • Share Your Feelings - How did you feel? Name the feeling without placing blame.
  • Name the Unmet Need - What were you longing for in that moment?
  • Propose a Strategy - Can you work together to meet that need going forward?
  • Ask for an Agreement - Make it work for everyone.
Check Things Out & Repair A Broken Agreement Frameworks

Use CC to Embrace Accountability

Create Clarity and Overcommunicate It To Employees

Once your leadership team is in sync and has a system in place to navigate conflict, you’ll be able to come up with clear answers to the big questions that are fundamental to every health organization:

  • Why do we exist?
  • How do we behave?
  • What do we do?
  • How will we succeed?
  • What is most important right now?
  • Who must do what?

When you’ve come up with the answers, use the tools in The Advantage to implement systems to repeat them to your team. There are three keys to success in this area:

  • Message consistency among leaders
  • Timeliness of delivery
  • Live, real-time communication

Reinforce Clarity with Clean Communication

The last step in creating a healthy organization is to bake your answers to the big questions into every corner of the organization, including orientations and conversations around compensation, rewards, how you hire, let people go, and recognize your employees. It all matters.